Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

21 February 2013

Morocco: Nation 'Must Investigate Claims of Torture, Transfer Sahrawi Cases Out of Military Jurisdiction' RFK Center

Washington, DC — "The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is deeply disturbed by the mistreatment and the military trial of 25 Sahrawi in Morocco." said the Center on Wednesday in press release reached SPS

The RFK Center called "for a full investigation into the alleged torture of the prisoners and calls into question Morocco's use of military courts in trying civilians."

"On February 17, after more than two years of detention and a politically charged trial, a Moroccan Military Court in Rabat convicted 25 Sahrawi, including several well-known human rights activists," stated the Center.

"The military court handed down sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison to 23 of the Sahrawi. Today, those prisoners were beaten with batons and some of them put in isolation once they arrived in Salé prison where they will be serving out their sentences."

"Morocco's failure to earnestly and impartially investigate claims that the defendants were subjected to torture and its refusal to transfer the trial to a civilian court capable of handling the matter are violations of fundamental fair trial standards and of Morocco's obligations under international law," said Santiago A. Canton, Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights.

"International law prohibits military courts from prosecuting civilians for ordinary crimes, as they present serious problems for due process and the independent administration of justice." he added.

"Moroccan authorities have yet to investigate credible claims that the accused were subject to torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment at the time of their arrest and throughout their detention." concluded the press release of RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.

SPS

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